Often those visiting the UK will typically head firstly towards the capital city of London, for its massive tourist draws and points-of-interest, not to mention its influence on pop culture and cinema – with unique attractions from its Secret Cinema experience to the London Design Museum, which recently held an exhibition dedicated to the revered director Stanley Kubrick and his works.
However, northern cities such as Liverpool and Manchester offer a strong alternative. They are often the go-to filming destination for big Hollywood films, due to their accommodating nature for production companies, and stunning, historic architecture that can stand in for many iconic locations, from London to New York.
Thinking of visiting? Here is the low down on some of the best places to visit for film buffs in the North West.
Liverpool is an extremely popular filming destination for both independent cinema and big blockbusters alike, and often doubles up as locales to suit fantasy and period dramas.
If arriving in the city by train you might immediately notice a location in Lime Street Station. Those who have seen the recent summer blockbuster Yesterday, from Trainspotting director Danny Boyle will know that this featured prominently in a poignant scene from the film.
Liverpool’s Littlewood’s building, once used during World War II to manufacture parachutes, will bring a state-of-the-art Hollywood-grade studio to Edge Lane in the coming years, sure to produce many great films for the future. Unfortunately, the site suffered setbacks due to a fire this time last year, but the £60m project is set to not only boost the cities’ economy, but also provide the potential for careers in staging, sound engineering and lighting.
This is not the only development ongoing in the city, and many other aspects are also building, in preparation for the future as the area swells in popularity. For example, not only has development in-and-around Liverpool Football Club’s famous Anfield stadium spelled economic growth, but in the Baltic Triangle sector of Liverpool, what has now become a creative and digital hub for business, bars, restaurants and homes are quickly popping up as an alternative destination to the city centre. Property specialists RW Invest state that the area is one of the most demanded in the country currently for students and young professionals, and will continue to grow rapidly in the years to come.
Pride of the north and one of the biggest student cities in the UK, Manchester is another city with plenty of destinations worth visiting if you’re a film fan. Again, there’s a variety of things to do here, from walking tours showcasing locations used in the city, to galleries and cinema centres with unique offerings such as HOME.
The walking tour of Manchester features one of its most recognizable landmarks, the Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square. The Victorian and Gothic-esque architecture was used as a filming location for the most recent adaptation of Frankenstein, starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, and James McAvoy of Split/X-Men fame.
MediaCityUK in Salford is another factor that solidifies Manchester’s place on the map for film and TV production influence. The hub for many of ITV and BBC’s studios, the network of buildings employ thousands of people and have done a lot for the city’s economy. Those visiting can go on many different tours of the different sets and blocks, and you could even get yourself into the live audience of one of the many shows filmed there.